Pac-12 Notes

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Pac-12 Notes

 

June 21st 

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Cal star wide receiver leaves team

From CBS Sports … Demetris Robertson established himself as one of the Pac-12’s best receivers in 2017 when he caught 50 passes for 767 yards and seven touchdown for the Cal Bears. Now, he’s on the move.

Robertson, a former five-star prospect and the nation’s top receiver in the class of 2016, announced his decision to transfer from the program on Thursday morning, citing personal matters.

A native of Savannah, Georgia, Robertson chose Cal over Notre Dame, Alabama, Georgia, Georgia Tech and others. During his recruitment, he actually signed financial aid agreements with Georgia, Georgia Tech and Cal, before settling on the Bears on National Signing Day.

At the time of his commitment, this is what he said about the decision to go to school far away from his home.

“Education was a big part of my decision,” he said. “When I went there, it felt like home. Me and the coaching staff have a great relationship. It felt like home. That’s what I felt was the best thing for me. I’m going to be homesick, but I’ll get over it. I want to do the best thing for me and my family. I know what my future holds, and I know what I want for my life.

“I always told myself I’d rather have a million-dollar business than a million-dollar contract in the NFL.”

At the time, Sonny Dykes was the coach of the Bears. They went 5-7 in Robertson’s first season in Berkeley under Dykes, and 5-7 last year in the first season of the Justin Wilcox regime. Robertson was limited to two games last season, catching seven passes for 70 yards.

Bruce Feldman of The Athletic reports that Ole Miss and West Virginia could be high on Robertson’s list of possible transfer destinations.

He has two more years of eligibility remaining.

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June 19th

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NCAA – If a student-athlete announces transfer, school can cancel their scholarship

Press release from the NCAA … In an expected next step, the Division I autonomy conferences Tuesday voted to allow schools to cancel a student’s scholarship at the end of a term if the student-athlete notifies the school of an impending transfer.

The decision is part of a comprehensive package of transfer reform that began last week with the Division I Council’s adoption of legislation allowing student-athletes to transfer and receive a scholarship without first asking for permission from their current school.

In 2015, the Atlantic Coast, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and Southeastern conferences adopted a rule preventing schools from canceling a student-athlete’s athletics aid except in a specific set of circumstances, including academic ineligibility and disciplinary actions. Tuesday’s action adds notification of transfer to that list.

Schools can cancel the aid of a student-athlete as soon as he or she provides written notification of transfer, but the aid may not be reduced or canceled until the end of the term. Schools can re-award the scholarship at the end of the term, subject to other financial aid rules.

The Transfer Working Group recommended the autonomy conferences adopt the proposal, which also was supported by the Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. SAAC chair Noah Knight, former men’s basketball student-athlete and graduate of the University of Missouri-Kansas City, said his fellow committee members supported the proposal to hold student-athletes accountable.

“In fairness to the transfer student-athlete’s teammates, coaching staff and overall team dynamic, the Division I SAAC felt that a student-athlete should not be able to give notification, search for other opportunities, then return to their institution if dissatisfied with their options with no repercussions,” Knight said.

The sponsoring conference, the Big 12, noted that allowing schools to cancel aid immediately provided a measure of fairness to student-athletes remaining at a school.

The autonomy vote is seen as a companion piece to the transfer legislation adopted by the Division I Council last week, which allows students greater choice of schools to attend when they want to transfer because they now can get a scholarship from a school after transfer without having to receive permission from their current school. The legislation also strengthens the penalties for coaches who tamper with student-athletes on other Division I rosters and creates a national database so that schools know which student-athletes are interested in transferring.

The 65 schools in the five autonomy conferences and the 15 voting student-athletes participated in a web-based discussion forum Monday, and votes were cast electronically Tuesday. Additionally, this week, the Collegiate Commissioners Association will consider changing National Letter of Intent rules to allow more freedom for student-athletes who have signed an NLI but are interested in considering new schools after their head coach leaves before they enroll.

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June 18th

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Washington State issues statement after Mike Leach posts controversial tweet

From CBS Sports … Washington State coach Mike Leach has always been described as having a quirky personality. On Sunday night, he put up for debate whether that is all it should be considered when he tweeted a fake video of former President Barack Obama.

Leach sent out a hoax video from a 2014 speech President Obama gave in Belgium. Immediately after tweeting the video, Leach’s mentions were flooded by people telling Leach the video was a hoax with quotes from the president either chopped, altered or arranged out of context. Leach’s reaction to those correcting him was basically, “Whoa, hey, I’m just putting the information out there.”

Leach has since deleted the video tweet, but plenty of his replies to fellow tweeters questioning the post remain.

… Leach eventually tweeted out the complete text of the speech on Monday morning, saying, “I agree that the video was incomplete. However, I believe discussion on how much or how little power that our [government] should have is important.”

… Anyway, Washington State issued a statement about Leach’s tweets on Monday, both the ones that still exist and the deleted one. Whether you agree that his tweet constitutes a “political view” is your own decision.

“As a private citizen, Mike Leach is entitled to his personal opinions. Coach Leach’s political views do not necessarily reflect the views of Washington State University students, faculty and staff.”

Continue reading story here

How will the AT&T/Time Warner merger affect the Pac-12?

From Jon Wilner at the San Jose Mercury News … Searching for context, for a morsel of clarity, the Hotline reached out to Chris Bevilacqua.

If the name is unfamiliar, know that Bevilacqua worked for Nike, founded CSTV and currently operates Bevilacqua Helfant Ventures, an advisory group for media and commercial rights.

He has advised, among others, the Pac-12, the Big 12 and the Big East on media rights deals and the University of Washington on its recently-completed apparel contract ($120 million from Adidas).

Bevilacqua was kind enough to share his perspective on the sports media landscape.

* What’s your read on the future of sports media rights if we use as a backdrop the next round of Tier I rights for the Power Five?

“It seems like we’re in the middle of an experiment about how consumer behavior affects technology. We don’t know the effect of all this because we’re living through it — we’re watching it all happen in real time. You could make a prediction about something and be proven wrong three weeks later.

“But at the end of the day, all this change is shaping a higher value for premium content and premium brands, and for access to that content. It’s not just the merger that went through. It’s Comcast and Fox and Disney, and Viacom and CBS, and Sprint and T Mobile. And then what are the tech guys going to do?

“It’s pretty clear, if you look at the mergers, that there’s a doubling down on premium content. It’s Disney saying, ‘We have to get more heft to compete. We need depth and breadth for all audiences.’

“When you talk about live premier content, that’s sports. We’re not talking about rugby and lacrosse. We’re talking about football and basketball, baseball, the NHL and the Olympics. If you’re on the top shelf, the future is bright.

“But there’s going to be a choppiness as things work through the system for a few years. And that’s not to mention we’re in the world of Trump and regulatory issues and net neutrality. It will take a while to sort itself out.”

Continue reading story here

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June 17th

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Coloradoan (the Coloradoan): CSU may be hard-pressed to get to six wins

From the Coloradoan … The cupboard … is looking pretty bare heading into the 2018 season.

Athlon’s, the first of several preseason publications to be released over the next month or so, has only one Colorado State University player on its preseason All-Mountain West team, and it’s the punter — sophomore Ryan Stonehouse.

There are only two Rams listed on the second team, running back Izzy Matthews and kicker Wyatt Bryan.

OK, so the kicking game should be solid.

But it’s going to take a lot more than that for the Rams to compete for a Mountain Division and Mountain West title, something no CSU team has won since 2002, when Sonny Lubick was still the coach.

… They need new stars to emerge right away. Not just to become a legitimate contender for a conference title but even to get the six wins needed to qualify for what would be a school record sixth straight bowl game.

With three schools from Power 5 conferences on the schedule in consecutive weeks early in the season — Colorado (Aug. 31 in Denver), Arkansas (Sept. 8 at home) and Florida (Sept. 15 in Gainesville) — and MW battles with Boise State (Oct. 19) and Air Force (Nov. 22) on the road, getting those six wins could be a tall task.

Too tall, possibly, for this year’s Rams.

Read full story here

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June 16th

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Pac-12 media days cut to one day; stars expected

From Jon Wilner at the San Jose Mercury News … The vast majority of fans do not care about conference media events, and they shouldn’t … except that the mid-summer gatherings provide a foundation for attention that, in turn, elevates the profile of a player/coach/team/conference.

And elevated profiles impact the success of the overall brand, which fans should care about.

The Pac-12 took an important step this spring by strong-arming … err, requiring … err, urging the schools to send their top players to the late-July festivities in Hollywood.

The list of attendees, released Tuesday, includes all of the conference’s marquee players, from Khalil Tate and N’Keal Harry to Justin Herbert and Jake Browning … oh, and Bryce Love and Cameron Smith, too. (Note: CU will be bringing two seniors, linebacker Rick Gamboa and quarterback Steven Montez).

This shouldn’t be news; the schools should always bring their biggest names to the event. Except that hasn’t been the case.

Many Pac-12 coaches prefer to distribute media attention evenly and have opted to showcase dedicated upperclassmen instead of their stars.

That approach isn’t in the best interest of the conference, and the conference obviously made that clear.

Read full story here

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June 15th

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Who will benefit from the new red-shirt rule?

From The Athletic … Todd​ Berry was a​ happy man​ Wednesday morning.

The executive director​ of the American​ Football​ Coaches Association and​ former Louisiana-Monroe​ head​​ coach had been pushing for nearly two decades to change the NCAA’s rules regarding redshirts. On Wednesday, it finally happened.

Beginning this season, players can participate in up to four games and not lose a season of eligibility, after a rule change approved by the Division I Council. That’s any four games. Players have five years to play four seasons, but the rule is not retroactive.

It’s an idea Berry hatched in 2001 when he was the head coach at Army. Now, players who weren’t even born when he came up with the idea will be the beneficiaries.

“It’s something that has been a long battle,” a relieved Berry told The Athletic. “It’s a win for the student-athlete, and our coaches are tremendously excited about this opportunity. This is great for student-athletes. Rarely do we have something that goes through all levels (of coaching support) in a unanimous fashion. This one did. I’m excited about it.”

Previously, a year of eligibility was used if a player participated in one snap, though if he was injured early in the season and missed the rest of the year, an appeal for a medical redshirt to regain that year of eligibility was possible.

The basic idea for the change was simple: Freshmen who were set to sit out the season and keep their year of eligibility were thrust into games late into the year because of injuries and essentially lost that season.

An example Berry often cites is Martell Pettaway. In late November 2016, West Virginia burned the redshirt of Pettaway, a true freshman running back, because of an abundance of injuries to other backs. He carried the ball 30 times in one game and a total of 19 times in the final two. Head coach Dana Holgorsen said it was a “no-brainer,” but there have also been many difficult situations in which coaches chose not to burn a redshirt and put more snaps on other players’ bodies, potentially risking injury for them.

“This is something I’ve been passionate about, because I hated having those meetings with those players late in the season, asking a young person to play for a quarter (and burn his redshirt),” Berry said. “For me, I knew this was going to benefit student-athletes. I’m excited that our coaches won’t have to go through that, and excited for student-athletes.”

The AFCA does not have voting power in the NCAA governance structure. When Berry became AFCA executive director in 2016, he crafted the idea with coaches and pitched it publicly in 2017, taking it to conferences. The ACC formally put forth this proposal, which was tabled in April because of questions about transfer changes and concerns about effects on other sports, before passing Wednesday.

The reaction in the coaching world was widespread approval.

Continue reading story here

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June 13th 

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NCAA amends red-shirt rule – players can now play four games without losing red-shirt season

Press release from the NCAA … College athletes competing in Division I football can participate in up to four games in a season without using a season of competition, the Division I Council decided this week at its meeting in Indianapolis.

Division I student-athletes have five years to compete in up to four seasons of competition. The new exception allows football players to preserve a season of competition if, for example, injuries or other factors result in them competing in a small number of games.

Council chair Blake James, athletics director at Miami (Florida), said the rule change benefits student-athletes and coaches alike.

“This change promotes not only fairness for college athletes, but also their health and well-being. Redshirt football student-athletes are more likely to remain engaged with the team, and starters will be less likely to feel pressure to play through injuries,” James said. “Coaches will appreciate the additional flexibility and ability to give younger players an opportunity to participate in limited competition.”

The proposal was tabled in April over questions about timing, the number of games and potential application to other sports. To mitigate one concern, the Council adopted noncontroversial legislation to specify that midyear enrollees who participate in postseason football competition that occurs before or during the student-athlete’s first term at a school cannot use the exception.

Several representatives of different governance groups reiterated concerns that caused the proposal to be tabled in April. The Division I Student-Athlete Experience Committee will examine how a similar concept could be applied to other sports, including what number of games would be appropriate. In its review, the committee will consult with the Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.

Both the Football Bowl Subdivision and Football Championship Subdivision representatives on the Council adopted both rules. They are effective for the 2018-19 football season.

NCAA changes transfer rule – permission from old school no longer required 

Press release from the NCAA … Beginning in October, Division I student-athletes will have the ability to transfer to a different school and receive a scholarship without asking their current school for permission.

The Division I Council adopted a proposal this week that creates a new “notification-of-transfer” model. This new system allows a student to inform his or her current school of a desire to transfer, then requires that school to enter the student’s name into a national transfer database within two business days. Once the student-athlete’s name is in the database, other coaches are free to contact that individual.

“The membership showed today that it supports this significant change in transfer rules,” said Justin Sell, chair of the Division I Transfer Working Group and athletics director at South Dakota State. “I’m proud of the effort the Transfer Working Group put forth to make this happen for student-athletes, coaches and schools.”

The previous transfer rule, which required student-athletes to get permission from their current school to contact another school before they can receive a scholarship after transfer, was intended to discourage coaches from recruiting student-athletes from other Division I schools. The rule change ends the controversial practice in which some coaches or administrators would prevent students from having contact with specific schools. Conferences, however, still can make rules that are more restrictive than the national rule.

Additionally, the proposal adds tampering with a current student-athlete at another school to the list of potential Level 2 violations, considered a significant breach of conduct.

Nicholas Clark, a recent graduate of and former football player at Coastal Carolina who represents the Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee on the Council, said the rule change promotes fairness and the well-being of college athletes.

“This creates a safe place for student-athletes to have a conversation with their coaches and makes the whole process more transparent,” Clark said. “This will clean the process up and give more influence and flexibility to the student-athlete.”

The Transfer Working Group first introduced the proposal in fall 2017, aiming to detach a student-athlete’s pursuit of transferring to a different school from the process of receiving a scholarship at the new college or university. The new rule was developed based on a series of principles the Division I Board of Directors developed for the working group, including any rule changes should support the academic success of student-athletes, be based on data and create the least restrictive environment possible for student-athletes.

Another financial aid element, autonomy legislation that governs when a school can reduce or cancel aid, may be adjusted next week by the autonomy conferences. Currently, a student’s notification of intent to transfer at the end of a term is not one of the listed reasons a school can use to cancel aid. The autonomy conferences will consider, by an electronic vote, two different proposals to allow schools to cancel the aid.

The rule change takes effect Oct. 15.

The Transfer Working Group will continue working on other transfer issues, including rules surrounding postgraduate transfers, and still is exploring the possibility of uniform transfer rules.

Stewart Mandel weighs in on the Pac-12’s decision not to allow any 5-7 bowl teams 

From The Athletic

Recently the Pac-12 made an announcement that the conference will no longer allow teams with a 5-7 record to make a bowl game. It seems like it would hurt the conference more than it would help, primarily due to the loss of the extra practices that come with a bowl game. And it’s not like any other conferences will follow suit. Do you have any insight as to what the Pac-12 was thinking?

Adam K.

I’ve heard a lot of explanations over the past week, some more sound than others. The only thing that’s clear to me is that A) only the Pac-12 would voluntarily do something like this, and B) it may be an overreaction to recent events.

You might recall that the Pac-12 had five coaching changes after last season. One of those was at Oregon, where Willie Taggart left for Florida State on Dec. 5, and the school named Mario Cristobal as his replacement a few days later. You also might recall that last year marked the first early signing date for football, which fell on Dec. 20. And finally, you might recall that Oregon’s bowl game, the Las Vegas Bowl, took place quite inconveniently right in the middle of those events, on Dec. 16. Boise State crushed the Ducks 38-28.

Pac-12 athletic directors saw how negatively that schedule impacted Oregon, and while no one would suggest a 7-5 team should turn down a bowl bid to save its recruiting class, you could see where the situation might be that much worse for a 5-7 team. For one thing, that bowl could be clear on the other part of the country. None of the team’s fans are going to travel to it, but the school is still on the hook for the travel and ticket costs (not to mention the coaches’ bonuses). And you get a major recruiting disruption.

So maybe not bothering to go is more sensible than it sounds.

But as Pac-12 insider Jon Wilner wrote in his excellent Pac-12 Hotline newsletter, why make it a conference-wide mandate? Why not let the schools decide? Maybe it’s a team that hasn’t played in a bowl game recently and would appreciate the experience. Maybe the coach doesn’t want to pass up the extra practice time. Not to mention that the overwhelming majority of bowl games take place well after Dec. 20.

But hey, the good news is if you’re a fan of a 5-7 Pac-12 team AND you have DirecTV, for once you’re not going to miss anything.

Continue reading full article here

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June 12th

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Jon Wilner ranks the offensive and defensive lines in the Pac-12 South

From the San Jose Mercury News … Our overview of football personnel continues, with a twist: Instead of separate assessments of the offensive and defensive lines, I combined them.

If you’re solid on both units and get efficient quarterback play, a successful season is sure to follow.

That said, weakness on one side of scrimmage can offset strength on the other.

An evaluation of the units in combination seemingly gives us the best insight into division pecking order.

The situation is fluid, for all teams on both lines; we’ll re-assess in late August.

6. Colorado
Top offensive linemen: LT Aaron Haigler, RG Tim Lynott
Top defensive linemen: DT Chris Mulumba, DE Terrance Lang, DE Mustafa Johnson
Division ranking (OL/DL/combined): 6/5/6
Comment: Only one lineman (either side) received all-conference recognition last season, OT Jeromy Irwin, and he’s gone. We’ll assume Lynott returns to full health (Achilles), but he’s just one piece of five: The Buffs are short on experience and impact players across the board. (Keep and eye on freshman Jake Moretti, however.) The defensive side is in better shape but hardly an elite unit. Progress depends on Johnson, a JC transfer, and Lang, who has disruptive length (6-foot-7) and quickness.

Read full story here

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June 11th

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University of Colorado ranked No. 50 out of 18,000 universities worldwide

From Colorado.edu … CU Boulder last week was named No. 50 out of 18,000 universities worldwide by the Center for World University Rankings, which is said to publish the only global university ranking that measures the quality of education and training of students, as well as the prestige of faculty members and the quality of faculty research, without relying on surveys and university data submissions.

Of particular note, CU Boulder ranked as follows:

  • National Rank: 32
  • Quality of Education Rank: 134
  • Alumni Employment Rank: 170
  • Quality of Faculty Rank: 41
  • Research Output Rank: 145
  • Quality of Publications Rank: 11
  • Influence Rank: 40
  • Citations Rank: 59
  • Overall Score: 84.4

Schools of note … 

2. Stanford

6. University of California – Berkeley

15. UCLA

19. University of Washington

50. University of Colorado – Boulder 

51. USC

52. University of Arizona

83. University of Utah

114. Arizona State

133. University of Colorado – Denver

244. Colorado State University

251. Oregon State University

277. Washington State University

313. University of Nebraska

428. University of Oregon

 

Three new bowl games to be added by 2020

From Bleacher Report … The NCAA’s competition committee has recommended the addition of three college bowl games for the 2020 season, according to college football writer Brett McMurphy.

Per that report, “in 2020, a record 43 bowls (including the College Football Playoff title game) would be held, meaning a record 65 percent of the 130 FBS schools (84 teams) will play in a bowl game.”

McMurphy added that Chicago and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, are “near locks” to be host cities for two of the new bowl games.

The Chicago Bowl will reportedly be played at Wrigley Field and feature a Big Ten vs. ACC matchup, while the Myrtle Beach game is expected to have conference tie-ins with either Conference USA, the Sun Belt or the Mid-American Conference.

The third bowl reportedly remains a mystery, with Tempe, Arizona; Charleston, South Carolina; and Greenville, South Carolina, all possibilities based on past interest in hosting a game, according to McMurphy.

Additionally, a restriction on the number of overall bowl tie-ins allowed per conference will be established, per that report:

  • ACC: 10
  • SEC: 10
  • Big Ten: 8
  • Pac-12: 7
  • Big 12: 6
  • American: 7
  • Conference USA: 7
  • Mid-American: 6
  • Mountain West: 6
  • Sun Belt: 5

Those numbers don’t include the conference tie-ins to the top bowl games, such as the Big Ten’s and Pac-12’s connection to the Rose Bowl.

The report comes on the heels of the Pac-12 announcing last week that it would require its teams to win six games to become bowl-eligible.

“The Pac-12 is committed to supporting the highest quality of competition at post-season bowl games,” Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said in a statement, per the Associated Press. “In requiring a minimum of six regular-season wins, our goal is to support the significance of the bowl season and provide our fans around the country with the most exciting games featuring our leading Pac-12 teams.”

If the Pac-12 ends up with a bowl allotment of seven slots come 2020, it will be fascinating to see if it regularly fill all of them given its new self-proposed restrictions or if a number of 5-7 teams from other conferences will earn those slots.

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June 10th

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Washington State facing significant deficits … Jon Wilner doesn’t see a way out

From The Spokane Spokesman-Review … Washington State University has set in motion a plan to help the school’s athletic department balance its budget and eventually climb out of a cumulative deficit that’s projected to reach $84.9 million by the end of fiscal year 2023.

The budget strategy, contingent on media-rights fees, record donations to the Cougar Athletic Fund, improved ticket sales, corporate sponsorships and a spike in student fees, will be presented to the WSU Board of Regents at a retreat at the Willows Lodge in Woodinville, Washington, from Thursday to next Friday.

WSU will ask that the Board of Regents approve the school’s 2018-19 athletics budget, approve the plan for reducing the operating deficit in future years and allow necessary transfers to cover the deficit balance at the end of the 2018 fiscal year.

On a conference call with reporters Thursday afternoon, athletic director Pat Chun and WSU Chief University Budget Officer Joan King addressed and further detailed the blueprint they believe can help the department break even by the 2023 fiscal year.

… WSU is also anticipating a noticeable boost in revenue generated from media rights, which currently account for $19.6 million of the annual revenue. According to calculations, that number could rise to $25.2 million by the end of fiscal year 2023. The Pac-12 Networks’ media rights deal extends through the 2023-24 school year.

“We’ve been in heavy dialogue with our conference,” Chun said. “It is really an opportunity for growth and everyone from the commissioner on down recognizes that.”

Continue reading story here

Jon Wilner’s take … never gonna happen … 

From the San Jose Mercury News … Here’s the problem: The plan relies on a 27 percent increase in revenue over five years, per the Spokesman. And that increase is rooted in assumptions — a student-fee hike, jumps in ticket sales and conference distributions, etc. — that often don’t fully materialize.

The entire Cougar community would be best off facing the grim reality:

Schools like WSU, with their small recruiting bases and modest success in the major sports, also have below-average organic revenue streams (i.e., ticket sales, donations).

They cannot compete for titles without spending, but they cannot generate the income needed to offset the required levels of expenditures …

Which makes annual shortfalls inevitable.

Continue reading story here

Four Pac-12 players among early Heisman trophy favorites 

From ESPN … Stanford running back Bryce Love is the early Heisman Trophy favorite in Las Vegas.

Love, a senior who passed on the NFL draft to return to Stanford, opened at 5-1 at the Westgate SuperBook to win this season’s Heisman Trophy. He rushed for 2,218 yards with 19 touchdowns and finished runner-up to Baker Mayfield in last season’s Heisman race.

Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor is next at 7-1, followed by Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoaat 10-1. Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm, Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert and Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate are 14-1.

During last season’s national championship game, Tagovailoa replaced starting quarterback Jalen Hurts and led the Crimson Tide to a comeback win over Georgia. Tagovailoa broke his finger in the first spring practice and did not play in the April spring game. He will be competing against Hurts, who was not listed in Westgate’s opening Heisman odds.

Georgia is the only team with two players listed in the top tier of favorites. In addition to Fromm, sophomore running back D’Andre Swift is listed at 20-1.

Also at 20-1: Washington quarterback Jake Browning, Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins, Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham, Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant, Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray, Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson, Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley and West Virginia quarterback Will Grier.

Alabama is the consensus favorite to win the national championship at 7-4, followed by Clemson (5-1), Ohio State (5-1) and Georgia (6-1).

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June 9th

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Nebraska quarterback to transfer to Colorado State

From the Coloradoan … CSU picked up another quarterback over the weekend when former Nebraska quarterback Patrick O’Brien announced via Twitter that he will play for the Rams.

“I am so thankful to be given another opportunity to play football at another amazing university. With that I am excited to announce my commitment to Colorado State,” O’Brien wrote Friday.

The former four-star recruit out of California will have to sit out this season due to NCAA transfer rules.

Last year with the Huskers. O’Brien was 18 for 30 for 192 yards and an interception. He redshirted his freshman year.

O’Brien decided to transfer after seeing his playing time diminish during spring practices as the Huskers move to a spread offense under new coach Scott Frost. O’Brien was recruited by former coach Mike Riley, who ran a pro style offense like CSU, but was fired this past season.

Continue reading story here

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June 7th

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Las Vegas Bowl to dump Mountain West, pick up a Power-Five conference opponent for the Pac-12 

From Brett McMurphy … The Las Vegas Bowl will move from UNLV’s Sam Boyd Stadium to Vegas’ new NFL stadium in 2020 and in the process end a 19-year relationship with the Mountain West Conference, sources said.

Starting in 2020, which coincides with the beginning of the next NCAA bowl cycle, the Las Vegas Bowl will feature a Pac-12 team against another Power 5 conference team, sources said.

“Every Power 5 conference wants in this game because of the new stadium and location,” a source said.

A Pac-12 vs. SEC matchup would be the most intriguing and some sources consider the SEC the favorite to ultimately face the Pac-12 in the Vegas Bowl starting in 2020.

The Pac-12 currently plays bowl games against each of the Power 5 conferences, except for the SEC. The two conferences have played in only nine non-College Football Playoff/New Year’s 6 bowls. The last Pac-12 vs. SEC matchup in a non-CFB Playoff/New Year’s 6 bowl was 29 years ago in the 1989 Freedom Bowl.

Meanwhile with the Las Vegas Bowl out of the mix for the Mountain West champion starting in 2020, the league is looking at other options where to send its champ. One possibility is the Arizona Bowl in Tucson, sources said. The Mountain West also is expected to add another bowl tie-in 2020, possibly a newly created bowl in Tempe at Arizona State, sources said.

From 2001-05, the Mountain West sent its second place team to Las Vegas. Beginning in 2006, the Mountain West champion – if it didn’t qualify for a BCS, College Football Playoff or New Year’s 6 bowl – would play a Pac-12 opponent in Las Vegas.

The Las Vegas Bowl began in 1992 and has been always affiliated with UNLV’s conference – either the Big West, WAC or Mountain West.

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June 5th

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CSU stadium gets its corporate name

From the Daily Camera … After four years of conception, two more of construction and another season of officially being open, the Colorado State football stadium finally has a name.

For at least the next 15 years, the Rams will be playing in Sonny Lubick Field at Canvas Stadium.

CSU and Public Service Credit Union announced in April a 15-year, $37.7 million sponsorship deal for naming rights on the Rams’ stadium. The asterisk at the time? PSCU was in the midst of a rebranding effort, and Tuesday officially announced that the credit union would be known as Canvas Credit Union.

The naming rights deal between CSU and Canvas Credit Union, which includes an annual $500,000 escalator clause to compensate for inflation, is the richest in the Mountain West. Boise State agreed to a 15-year deal with grocer Albertson’s in 2014 worth $12.5 million. Other conference stadiums with corporate names are: Maverik Stadium (Utah State), Citizens Equity First Credit Union Stadium (San Jose State), San Diego County Credit Union Stadium (San Diego State) and Dreamstyle Stadium (New Mexico).

Canvas Stadium is the first building at CSU to carry a corporate name. The stadium’s party deck was already branded as the New Belgium Porch ($4.3 million deal) and its field-level club is sponsored by Orthopedic and Spine Center of the Rockies. The playing surface is named after legendary coach Sonny Lubick thanks to an anonymous $20 million donation to carry his namesake from Hughes Stadium, where the Rams played from 1968-2016.

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June 4th

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Pac-12 Presidents: No bowl games for 5-7 teams

From collegefootballap.org … The Pac-12 will require its teams to win at least six regular-season games to play in a bowl, eliminating the opportunity for a 5-7 squad to earn a postseason spot when there are not enough six-win teams nationally to fill the bowls.

Pac-12 presidents passed the rule proposed by a subcommittee of athletic directors led by Washington’s Jennifer Cohen.

“The Pac-12 is committed to supporting the highest quality of competition at post-season bowl games,” Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said in a statement to The Associated Press on Monday. “In requiring a minimum of six regular season wins our goal is to support the significance of the bowl season and provide our fans around the country with the most exciting games featuring our leading Pac-12 teams.”

The growing bowl lineup led to the NCAA determining in 2015 that 5-7 teams with the best Academic Progress Ratings would be bowl eligible if there were not enough six-win teams to fill the then-80 spots. Three 5-7 teams played in bowls in 2015 and two did so in 2016. None were needed last season when the number of FBS bowl slots dropped to 78 (39 games, not including the national title game) with the Poinsettia Bowl folding.

No 5-7 bowl-eligible teams have been from the Pac-12, which this season has seven contracted bowl spots for its 12 schools. Sending a team to a far-off and low-profile bowl game, where it will draw few fans, can be a losing financial proposition for an athletic department, but bowl eligibility does come with extra practice time (20 hours per week) that coaches like.

There will again be 39 FBS bowl games this season.

Rashaan Salaam and Michael Westbrook on College Football Hall of Fame ballot (along with assistant coach Ashley Ambrose)

Related … “Ambrose, Salaam, Westbrook on College Football Hall of Fame Ballot” … Press release from CUBuffs.com

From the National Football Foundation … The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame announced today the names on the 2019 ballot for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame, including 76 players and six coaches from the Football Bowl Subdivision and 100 players and 32 coaches from the divisional ranks.

“It’s an enormous honor to just be on the ballot when you think that more than 5.26 million people have played college football and only 997 players have been inducted,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “The Hall’s requirement of being a First-Team All-American creates a much smaller pool of about 1,500 individuals who are even eligible. Being in today’s elite group means an individual is truly among the greatest to have ever played the game, and those actually elected to the Class will be part of a momentous year as we celebrate the 150th anniversary of college football in 2019.”

The ballot was emailed today to the more than 12,000 NFF members and current Hall of Famers whose votes will be tabulated and submitted to the NFF’s Honors Courts, which will deliberate and select the class. The FBS Honors Court, chaired by NFF Board Member and College Football Hall of Famer Archie Griffin from Ohio State, and the Divisional Honors Court, chaired by former Marshall head coach, longtime athletics director and NFF Board Member Jack Lengyel, include an elite and geographically diverse pool of athletic administrators, Hall of Famers and members of the media.

… The criteria for Hall of Fame consideration include:

•          First and foremost, a player must have received First-Team All-America recognition by a selector organization that is recognized by the NCAA and utilized to comprise their consensus All-America teams.

•          A player becomes eligible for consideration by the Foundation’s Honors Courts 10 full seasons after his final year of intercollegiate football played.

•          While each nominee’s football achievements in college are of prime consideration, his post-football record as a citizen is also weighed. He must have proven himself worthy as a citizen, carrying the ideals of football forward into his relations with his community and his fellow man, with love of his country. Consideration may also be given for academic honors and whether the candidate earned a college degree.

•          Players must have played their last year of intercollegiate football within the last 50 years.* For example, to be eligible for the 2019 ballot, the player must have played his last year in 1969 or thereafter. In addition, players who are playing professionally and coaches who are coaching on the professional level are not eligible until after they retire.

•          A coach becomes eligible three full seasons after retirement or immediately following retirement provided he is at least 70 years of age. Active coaches become eligible at 75 years of age. He must have been a head coach for a minimum of 10 years and coached at least 100 games with a .600 winning percentage.

Candidates from the Pac-12 …

David Fulcher, Arizona State-Defensive Back-Two-time First Team All-American, earning consensus honors in both 1984 and 1985…Three-time All-Pac-10 selection who led ASU to 1985 Holiday Bowl berth…Recorded 14 interceptions, returning one for a touchdown, and 286 tackles in career.

Tony Gonzalez, California-Tight End-1996 consensus First Team All-American and First Team All-Pac-10 selection…Holds Cal record for receptions in a bowl game (9 in 1996 Aloha Bowl)…Posted 89 receptions for 1,302 yards and eight touchdowns during career.

Jason Hanson, Washington State-Placekicker-Two-time First Team All-American, earning unanimous honors in 1989…Holds numerous NCAA, conference and school records, including longest field goal without a tee (62 yards) and career field goals of 40 yards or more (39)…Four-time All-Pac-10 selection and 1991 NFF National Scholar-Athlete.

Jess Lewis, Oregon State-Defensive Tackle-Named First Team All-American in 1967…Played in the College All-Star Game, East-West Shrine Game and Coaches All-America Bowl in 1970…Two-time First Team All-Conference selection (1967, 1969).

Ed McCaffrey, Stanford-Wide Receiver-1990 First Team All-American and two-time Stanford MVP…1990 First Team All-Pac-10 receiver who led the Cardinal in receiving yards three-of-four years…Ranks in the top 10 all-time at Stanford with 146 career receptions and 2,333 career receiving yards.

Cade McNown, UCLA-Quarterback-1998 Consensus First Team All-American and Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award recipient…1998 Pac-10 Co-Offensive Player of the Year who led UCLA to consecutive Pac-10 titles in 1997 (shared) and 1998…Holds numerous school records.

Ken Norton Jr., UCLA-Linebacker-1987 First Team All-American, leading Bruins to four consecutive bowl wins… Member of the 1985 conference championship team… Led team in tackles in 1986 (106) and in 1987 (125) and ranks sixth in school history with 339 career tackles.

Carson Palmer, Southern California-Quarterback-2002 consensus First Team All-American and Heisman Trophy recipient…2002 Pac-10 Co-Offensive Player of the Year who set conference/school career records for total offense (11,621 yds) and passing yards (11,818)…Led USC to a share of the 2002 Pac-10 title and first 11-win season since 1979.

Jake Plummer, Arizona State-Quarterback-1996 First Team All-American and Pac-10 Player of the Year…Led 1996 team to an undefeated regular season and first Rose Bowl appearance since 1986…Four-year starter and two-time ASU MVP who threw for more than 2,000 yards in three consecutive seasons (8,827 career passing yards).

Troy Polamalu, Southern California-Defensive Back-Two-time First Team All-American, earning consensus honors in 2002…Two-time First Team All-Pac-10 selection and finalist for the Thorpe Award as a senior…Two-year captain and 2001 USC MVP, who led Trojans to two bowl berths and a share of the 2002 Pac-10 title.

Ron Rivera, California-Linebacker-1983 consensus First Team All-American…Lombardi Award finalist in 1983 and named East-West Shrine Game Most Valuable Player…Selected as Pac-10 Co-Defensive Player of the Year in 1983…Led team in tackles from 1981-83.

Rashaan Salaam, Colorado-Tailback-1994 unanimous First Team All-American and Heisman Trophy winner…1994 Walter Camp Player of the Year and Doak Walker Award recipient… 1994 Big Eight Offensive Player of the Year who led nation in rushing, scoring and all-purpose yards.

Dennis Thurman, Southern California-Defensive Back-Two-time First Team All-American who led Trojans to four consecutive postseason wins, including the 1974 National Championship at the Rose Bowl…Two-time all-conference selection who helped USC to two Pac-10 titles.

Michael Westbrook, Colorado-Wide Receiver-1994 consensus First Team All-American who led Buffs to four bowl berths and four top 20 finishes…Two-time All-Big Eight performer, leading CU to a share of the 1991 league title…Still holds eight school records and caught a 64-yard game-winning pass in the 1994 “Miracle at Michigan.”

… and former Pac-12 coaches … 

Dennis Erickson-Idaho (1982-85, 2006), Wyoming (1986), Washington State (1987-88), Miami [Fla.] (1989-94), Oregon State (1999-2002), Arizona State (2007-11)-Only Miami coach to lead the Canes to two national titles (1989, 1991) and boasts highest win percentage (87.5) in school history…Led teams to 12 bowl games and at least a share of seven conference titles…First coach to earn Pac-12 Coach of the Year honors at three different institutions.

Darryl Rogers-Cal State East Bay [formerly Cal State Hayward] (1965), Fresno State (1966-72), San Jose State (1973-75), Michigan State (1976-79), Arizona State (1980-84)-Took Fresno State to two bowl games…Achieved an unprecedented national ranking at San Jose State…Named Big Ten Coach of the Year in 1977 and National Coach of the Year by Sporting News in 1978…Won the Big Ten title in 1978.

… Plus … CU assistant coach Ashley Ambrose … 

Ashley Ambrose, Mississippi Valley State-Defensive Back-1991 First Team All-American and First Team All-SWAC selection…Named SWAC Defensive Back and Return Specialist of the Year in 1991…Led nation in punt returns during senior campaign.

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June 3rd

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Pac-12 non-conference schedule (plus other announced kickoff times)

From Footballschedules.com … On Friday, Aug. 31, Stanford plays host to San Diego State (9:00pm ET, FS1) while Colorado takes on Colorado State in the Rocky Mountain Showdown in Denver (9:30pm ET, CBSSN).

The first conference matchup is slated for Saturday, Sept. 8 when USC travels to take on in-state rival Stanford. The game will kickoff at 8:30pm ET on FOX.

Some times and or television for ten Pac-12 games from Week 4 onward were also announced, including the Pac-12 Championship Game on Friday, Nov. 30.

Listed below are the Pac-12 games have been selected for television as of May 31. All remaining Pac-12 controlled games will be announced six-to-12 days prior to the date of the game.

Pac-12 Early Season 2018 Football TV Schedule
*All times Eastern.

Thursday, Aug. 30
Weber State at Utah – 8pm, P12N

Friday, Aug. 31
San Diego State at Stanford – 9pm, FS1
Colorado vs. Colorado State (Denver) – 9:30pm, CBSSN

Saturday, Sept. 1
Oregon State at Ohio State – Noon, ABC
Washington vs. Auburn (Atlanta) – 3:30pm, ABC
Washington State at Wyoming – 3:30pm, CBSSN
North Carolina at California – 4pm, FOX
UNLV at USC – 4pm, P12N
Cincinnati at UCLA – 7pm, ESPN
Bowling Green at Oregon – 8pm, P12N
UTSA at Arizona State – 10:30pm, FS1
BYU at Arizona – 10:45pm, ESPN

Saturday, Sept. 8
Arizona at Houston – Noon, ABC/ESPN2
UCLA at Oklahoma – 1pm, FOX
Portland State at Oregon – 2pm, P12N
Colorado at Nebraska – 3:30pm, ABC
North Dakota at Washington – 5pm, P12N
Utah at Northern Illinois – 7:30pm, ESPNews
Southern Utah at Oregon State – 8pm, P12N
USC at Stanford – 8:30pm, FOX
California at BYU – 10:15pm, ESPN2 or ESPNU
Michigan State at Arizona State – 10:45pm, ESPN
San Jose State at Washington State – 11pm, P12N

Saturday, Sept. 15
UC Davis at Stanford – 2pm, P12N
San Jose State at Oregon – 5pm, P12N
New Hampshire at Colorado – 5pm, P12 Mountain
Idaho State at California – 6pm, P12 Bay Area
Oregon State at Nevada – 7pm, ESPN3
Eastern Washington at Washington State – 8pm, P12N
USC at Texas – 8pm, FOX
Washington at Utah – 10pm, ESPN
Arizona State at San Diego State – 10:30pm, CBSSN
Fresno State at UCLA – 10:30pm, FS1
Southern Utah at Arizona – 11pm, P12N

Friday, Sept. 21
Washington State at USC – 10:30pm, ESPN

Friday, Sept. 28
UCLA at Colorado – 9pm, FS1

Saturday, Sept. 29
Stanford at Notre Dame – 7:30pm, NBC

Friday, Oct. 12
Arizona at Utah – 10pm, ESPN

Thursday, Oct. 18
Stanford at Arizona State – 9pm, ESPN

Friday, Oct. 26
Utah at UCLA – 10:30pm, ESPN

Friday, Nov. 2
Colorado at Arizona – 10:30pm, FS1

Friday, Nov. 23
Oregon at Oregon State – 4pm, FS1
Washington at Washington State – 8:30pm, FOX

Friday, Nov. 30
Pac-12 Football Championship Game – 8pm, FOX
Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, CA

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June 2nd

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Former/new Arizona coaches among worst coaches against the spread

From CBS Sports … In last week’s Friday Five, I ranked the five coaches who have done the best not on the field, but in the sportsbook. The coaches who don’t necessarily win every game, but can be counted on to cover the spread over the last five years. Well, when it comes to betting on sports, you’re not always betting on something. Just as often, you’re betting against it.

So it only makes sense that for this week’s Friday Five I rank the five coaches who have done the worst against the spread since the start of the 2013 season.

t-2. Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M (25-38-1 ATS): Sumlin is currently at Arizona, but all of those games where he failed to cover came at Texas A&M. In a way, Sumlin’s performance ATS mirrored what his life was like at Texas A&M. In 2012, the Aggies had a magical season, finishing 11-2 in their first SEC season as Johnny Manziel won the Heisman. That season raised expectations to a level that probably wasn’t realistic, and those expectations were shared by Joe Public at the sportsbook. The Aggies really struggled against the spread, and they were consistent about it too. A&M went 5-8 ATS in 2013, 2014, and 2015. They shook things up in 2016 by going 4-9. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that A&M’s only winning record ATS in the last five seasons came last year (6-5-1) when expectations had been lowered significantly.

1. Rich Rodriguez, Arizona (25-40 ATS): If you’re an Arizona fan right now, you can’t be feeling great. Sure, Rodriguez is gone, so you no longer have the worst coach ATS running your team, but his replacement is tied for second on this list. So I guess the lesson here is that if you’re an Arizona fan, don’t bet on your Wildcats. Of course, you probably already learned that the hard way these last five seasons as RichRod never posted a winning record ATS at Arizona (he was 6-7 in 2012 as well). The worst year was 2016 when Arizona went 2-10 ATS while only going 3-9 on the field. Rodriguez is currently without a job, but should he find himself coaching again anywhere soon, I’m willing to bet more than a few degenerates will be happy to hear the news.

Read full story here

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June 1st 

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Jon Wilner interviews Pac-12 Networks distribution chief Alden Budill

From the San Jose Mercury News … Alden Budill was an executive for a major media company and living in Manhattan Beach in the summer of 2016 when a headhunter asked if she had any interest in joining the Pac-12 Networks.

Clearly, that’s a hard pass — perhaps even a hard pass with a roll of the eyes and slight chuckle.

At the time, Budill was the Vice President for Distribution Strategy at Discovery Communications, where her primary focus was the Oprah Winfrey Network. She had no personal ties to Pac-12 executives, no background in sports media and oh-by-the-way a 10-minute walk to the ocean.

The Pac-12 Networks, on the other hand, were struggling to secure eyeballs and revenue, lagging their peers in the Big Ten and SEC and losing the narrative across the college football media world.

Why leave Oprah to get rebuffed by DirecTV?

But instead of dismissing the inquiry immediately, Budill let it cook. The more she researched the opportunity, the more enticing it became.

From the interview ...

** Is there a misconception about the networks in the media narrative?

“If I’m really being honest, it is sometimes painful to be consistently faced with the ‘Oh, they’re so challenged’ narrative.

“The Pac-12 Networks have turned a significant operating surplus every year, they’ve delivered on the mission to elevate the sports that never had been broadcast before, and they’ve represented those student athletes in a caring way.

“Because of our mission, we’re obligated to be very cautious in the way we create content. The fact that we’re able to do that and stand up such a good product and deliver an operating surplus — to me, that’s a success story.

“Would we all like to be making more money? Of course. But I don’t see it as, ‘We’re challenged.’ I see it as, ‘Wow, we have this amazing foundation to build from, to evolve into the next phase.’

Continue reading story here

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May 31st

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Most vulnerable units for ranked teams in the Pac-12

From ESPN … Last week we examined the strong points for each Top 25 team. It seems only fair that this week we consider what might derail their high hopes.

From the Pac-12 … 

6. Washington: Wide receiver

The Huskies have no clue who will be their go-to receiving threat this fall. With Dante Pettis gone, Washington finds itself pretty young at receiver, and though guys got valuable reps this spring, no one has assumed No. 1 status. Junior Aaron Fuller returns as the most accomplished receiver with just 291 yards on 26 catches last season.

14. Stanford: Secondary

The defense as a whole has a lot of questions to answer going forward, but the secondary really has a lot of uncertainly with the losses of top players Justin Reid and Quenton Meeks. It’s hard to say how close the Cardinal have come to replacing those guys after spring practice was plagued by a rash of injuries. Alijah Holder could be one of the Pac-12’s best shutdown corners, but he has suffered serious injuries in his past, making durability an issue.

17. USC: Quarterback 

Right now, you’d have to say quarterback because neither redshirt sophomore Matt Fink nor redshirt freshman Jack Sears showed he was ready to replace early first-round pick Sam Darnold this spring. Fink has the only game experience, though very limited, and both he and Sears will be pushed by incoming freshman J.T. Daniels, who reclassified to the 2018 class. Fink and Sears ended spring more composed after struggling through the first half of practices.

24. Oregon: Cornerback

The Ducks have questions about depth and experience at cornerback this season. Only sophomores Thomas Graham, who was a regular starter for the Ducks last season, and Deommodore Lenoir have seen game action in this group. Graham is the leader of the group, while Lenior dealt with inconsistencies his freshman year. Oregon’s corners had a very up-and-down spring and even had to use multiple walk-ons to help with numbers.

Read full story here

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May 30th

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Stewart Mandel: Why USC hasn’t been able to win the big game

From the Athletic … Stewart Mandel mailbag question:

I have seen USC get blown out facing Alabama (52-6), Notre Dame (49-14) and Ohio State (24-7) the past two years. None were even competitive, and this was with Sam Darnold as the Trojans’ QB. What will need to happen for Clay Helton to match up successfully against the top-tier opponents?

Ulysses P.

Each of those games had its own unique circumstances. It sounds crazy now, but the starting quarterbacks in that 2016 USC-Alabama opener were Max Browne and Blake Barnett, with redshirt freshman Darnold and true freshman Jalen Hurts eventually replacing them. (Note: Darnold did not take over as the Trojans’ full-time starter until Week 4.) The specific issues in that game weren’t necessarily the same as those a year later against Notre Dame, which itself was a completely different contest than the Cotton Bowl against Ohio State.

If we’re looking for a larger trend, though, it’s pretty simple: USC is not lacking for skill-position talent, but against those elite intersectional opponents, it’s often been exposed on the line of scrimmage. And that’s been true going back a lot farther than when Helton’s tenure began — essentially throughout the post-NCAA sanctions era.

USC, a program we generally think of as teeming with NFL talent, has produced 10 first- or second-round draft picks since 2013. Of those, six were offensive skill players (Darnold, RB Ronald Jones and WRs JuJu Smith-Schuster, Nelson Agholor, Marqise Lee and Robert Woods). Another was all-purpose weapon Adoree’ Jackson. The only guy on the list who played on either line of scrimmage was star DT Leonard Williams. In fact, no USC offensive tackle or guard has gone higher than the fourth round since Matt Kalil in 2012.

Over the same time period, Alabama has seen 10 offensive or defensive linemen go in the first two rounds. Ohio State and Notre Dame have seen six.

Methinks that’s your answer. The question is: How soon can Helton upgrade those areas?

USC’s offensive line returns four starters, but it’s the same guys (Toa Lobendahn, Chuma Edoga, Andrew Vorhees and Chris Brown) who left Darnold running for his life most of last season (USC allowed 30 sacks). It will be interesting to see what impact prospective new starting tackles Clayton Johnston and Austin Jackson or redshirt freshman center Brett Neilon could have.

The D-line was actually pretty good last year — USC tied for the national lead with 46 sacks — but the Trojans must replace starters Rasheem Green and Josh Fatu, plus linebacker/pass rusher Uchenna Nwosu. Junior Christian Rector showed flashes last year when healthy, but this season will be a big test of Helton and his staff’s recent recruiting efforts. Class of 2017 signees Brandon Pili, Marlon Tuipulotu and Jay Tufele will be counted on.

Having said all this, the biggest question hovering over the Trojans is whether incoming freshman quarterback J.T. Daniels can be the savior at that position. But USC is not usually lacking for stud QBs. The program won’t truly return to glory until it solves its shortcomings in the trenches.

Read full story here

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May 29th

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Washington State wide receiver granted a sixth-year of eligibilty

From ESPN … Washington State wide receiver Robert Lewis has been granted a sixth year of eligibility.

The NCAA approved Lewis’ waiver on Tuesday, allowing him to participate during the 2018 season. Lewis has started 22 games for the Cougars, recording 117 receptions for 1,254 yards and six touchdowns. He redshirted in 2013 before entering Washington State’s wide receiver rotation for the next three seasons. Lewis suffered a knee injury before the 2017 campaign and did not play.

Washington State returns running back James Williams, the team’s receptions leader in 2017, but loses top wide receivers Tavares Martin, who was dismissed from the program, and Isaiah Johnson-Mack, who received his release from the program in December.

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May 26th

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California state legislature proposes amendment which would limit coaches’ salaries to $200,000

From the Daily Bruin … California state legislators announced a state constitutional amendment Tuesday that aims to restrict the University of California’s autonomy by reducing staff salaries, the length of regents’ terms and the authority of the UC president.

The proposed amendment limits nonfaculty salaries to $200,000 per year, which would affect coaches that, on some campuses, make millions of dollars, and administrators that make hundreds of thousands of dollars. The proposal also requires the UC Board of Regents to approve higher salaries in public hearings.

Under the amendment, regents’ terms would be reduced from 12 years to four years, and the UC president would lose their voting power on the Board of Regents. The UC Office of the President would also be required to report expenditure information to the regents, governor and Legislature.

The amendment requires a two-thirds vote in both the Assembly and the state Senate, followed by a majority vote by the public in a ballot measure in order to pass.

The proposed additional regulations come after a state audit last year found that UCOP’s budget practices were misleading, which resulted in the office accumulating a surplus of $175 million it did not disclose. It added UCOP asked for budget increases based on overestimated budgets, and spent less than it budgeted for.

UC spokesperson Stephanie Beechem said in an email statement that the UC has not taken an official position on the proposal yet, as it is finishing analyzing it. However, the University has concerns after its initial review, she added.

Beechem added that the UC is working on reforms to improve the transparency of its budget process in light of claims by California legislators that a state audit found the University had unclear budgetary practices.

“UC is fully committed to transparency and accountability in our budgeting and accounting practices,” she said.

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May 25th

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Starting USC cornerback academically ineligible for the 2018 season 

From NBC Sports … USC cornerback Jack Jones will sit out the entire 2018 season according to multiple reports over the past 24 hours. As first reported by Adam Maya of Rivals, Jones will be forced to miss the upcoming college football season due to being ruled academically ineligible.

The Los Angeles Times follows up with confirmation from a USC spokesperson to say Jones will miss the season, although the reason was not confirmed. However, Jones was already known to have sit out of the spring practice schedule to focus on academics.

Jones started 13 games for USC last season, so his loss is more than just a mild ding to the depth chart. However, USC also returns Iman Marshall and Marvell Tate this season to help provide some stability in the secondary. Marshall is already set to be one starter for the Trojans, but the program will need to find a new starter to place on top of the depth chart. The absence of Jones will allow USC to develop and provide opportunities for other players on the roster looking to step up and play a role in USC’s defense.

Jones had 40 tackles and four interceptions for USC last season. Jones also had a handful of special teams opportunities with four punt returns for an average of 12 yards per return and three kickoff returns averaging 15 yards per return.

While Jones was a starter, Juwann Winfree might be disappointed to see Jones go ….

Oregon dismisses senior linebacker after arrest

From the Oregonian … Fotu Leiato, a senior linebacker, was dismissed from the Oregon Ducks football team, a university of Oregon official confirmed on Thursday.

Duck Territory was first to report the news.

The news of Leiato’s dismissal comes a month after he was arrested in Eugene and charged with theft, criminal trespassing, and criminal mischief.

It was his second arrest in 2018 after being booked in January on a misdemeanor trespassing charge.

Leiato, 21, played three seasons for Oregon and was a standout during April’s spring game, recording five tackles and three sacks. Leiato recorded 14 tackles last season as a junior.

“We are aware of the situation and are in the process of gathering all of the information,” head coach Mario Cristobal said following Leiato’s arrest in April. “We hold our student-athletes to high standards and will take appropriate action once all of the facts have been reviewed.”

Leiato was in a position battle with La’Mar Winston Jr. at outside linebacker and also offered the Ducks versatility in their hybrid “Duck” position.

Here’s a look at Oregon’s depth at the position.

Leiato is the first player to be dismissed under first-year head coach Mario Cristobal.

Opening week Pac-12 betting lines – Two conference schools are underdogs in Week One

From Betonline.com … Opening week lines involving Pac-12 teams (along with Nebraska and CSU):

Saturday, August 25th … Colorado State – a 14.0-point favorite at home over Hawai’i

Friday, August 31st … Colorado – a 6.0-point favorite over Colorado State (game in Denver; CSU the “home” team)

— Stanford – a 15.0-point favorite at home against San Diego State

Saturday, September 1st … Oregon State – a 38.0-point underdog on the road against Ohio State

— Nebraska – a 20.5-point favorite at home against Akron

— Arizona – a 15.0-point favorite at home against BYU

— Arizona State – a 17.0-point favorite at home against Texas-San Antonio

— USC – a 27.5-point favorite at home against UNLV

— UCLA – a 16.5-point favorite at home against Cincinnati

— Washington – a 2.5-point underdog against Auburn (game in Atlanta)

— California – a 5.5-point favorite at home against North Carolina

— Washington State – a 4.0-point favorite on the road against Wyoming

— Oregon – a 27.0-point favorite at home against Bowling Green

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25 Responses to “Pac-12 Notes”

  1. buffnaustin

    I have a question. With the new transfer rule how will this affect the graduation percentage of each class? Do you think it will stay level compared to years before or have a decline?

    • Stuart

      Good question.
      I don’t if anyone has worked through the fine print, but I would guess that the player/student can only transfer if they are in good standing. That way, the APR of the school they are leaving won’t get dinged if the player/student doesn’t graduate at their next school.
      That would be logical … but again, this is the NCAA we are talking about …

  2. Rob

    Not so fast! I remember 4 years ago when CSU was supposed to be on a down year and then they came out and took Colorado to the woodshed in the 4th stanza. They put up 360 yds rushing on CU that night. Hopefully the Coloradoan got it right this time.

  3. VKBerlin

    The current debt can largely be traced to the commitment – important, albeit costly – that former AD Bill Moos

    And where is he now??????????

    Klincoln Knebraska.

    Sweet

  4. VKBerlin

    Hurry go hire that Rams guy who is doing all those deals. Buffs could use the cash.

  5. VKBerlin

    Wilner. I like him.
    But like most writers, journalists,opinion guys, using the easiest data and not the most accurate and respected (by the university presidents etc) is typical.

    The US News rankings is a piece of bologna that is old, rotten an not edible. But easily quotable. Fake news baby. That little 24 page magazine….hahaha.

    ARWU is the most respected ranking methodology. Most quoted by college leaders. Why? Because of its methodology. Look it up. Don’t confuse yourself because it is based in Shanghai.

    So be enlightened.

    US Rankings

    2 Stanford University
    4 University of California, Berkeley
    10 University of California, Los Angeles
    11 University of Washington

    27 University of Colorado at Boulder
    33 University of Southern California
    48 University of Arizona
    49-60 ASU, Utah
    61-70 OSU
    71-90 Oregon
    120-135 WSU

    Big ten 7 in the top 48 as well
    Big 12 has 1

    Okay now.

    But from a football perspective pac12 big12 games would be something I would like to see.

    Say 8 conference games 4 non con (2 against the other conference. 2 against the likes of CSU.

    Anway who cares.

    Just win a bowl game Buffs.

  6. cricky

    “Integrity fee”? Well, I guess they can’t really call it “gambling payola” can they? It will be interesting to watch where all of this goes.

  7. Scott W

    Update on the Jon Wilner article about Pac-12 finances here:
    https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/05/15/pac-12-finances-on-the-reporting-process-ceo-oversight-setting-the-record-straight-and-matters-of-transparency/

    He backpedals about his claims about financial impropriety from his previous article (hard to call it an article when there so little factual reporting and a bunch of conjecture on his part).

  8. VKBerlin

    Clearly Cole Frederick is biased (in a positive manner) toward former Mississippi coaches. TunaMac should have/would have taken that job. Except 2017 (normalcy) showed up.

    Buffalo Up Eh

  9. VKBerlin

    “A loss of season tickets is really a double whammy,” Wasserman said. “You lose season tickets; you lose donations. We were down dramatically.

    “The buyout is the buyout,” Wasserman said. “You can complain about it all you want. … To me, what was the economic risk of not making a change versus the cost of making a change? I feel like the cost of making a change was cheaper than not making a change.”

    Ya gots to give him time. 6 years ain’t enough.

    • Ticket sales and revenue have increased under mac. Just another fact you selectively overlook. Not to mention cash from the likes of aikman and washerman, that for whatever reason, CU can’t seem to match.

      Now, if the team underperforms again this year? The heat should and will increase for Mac. My money is on another nice season of 8-4 or better. A lot of that will depend on the play of our qb. I am expecting big improvement from Montez.

      Go Buffs.

      • VKBerlin

        I am expecting big improvement from Montez as well.

        Finally got a real QB coach eh? And a better Co-OC to boot.

        Buffs.

        Note: I agree, ticket sales have increased under Rick George.

        Note 2: 8 and 4 would be great. Better assistant coaches make the difference here. But with TunaMac ya just can’t bet your business on it.

      • VKBerlin

        Ticket sales and revenue have increased under mac”
        Baaaaaaaaaaaa.

        Notice you didn’t say “because of Mac”

        Good ol banker-baby twisting the numbers/words. “Sign here please its a great rate and these fees are well somewhere in there. Hehaw Hehaw.

        Don’t make me lay out the attendance stuff. It just makes you look under financed.

        But this????:

        Now, if the team underperforms again this year? The heat should and will increase for Mac…..

        Either you are off the meds or you’ve gotten better ones.
        Be careful…..

        REALITY

        is painful.

        Baby steps are required eh?

        Good luck

        Note: Did you know that in 2012 TunaMac signed a 5 year extension
        ………….with San Jose State. Damn is there no honor? Banker blood?

        Note 2:

        December 10 2012, Tuna Mac Hired
        May 28, 2013 His buddy Bohn Fired (The the man who hired the Flimflammers)
        July 10, 2013 RG Hired

        Note 3: Well there ya go.

        • Wow. Now you’re contradicting yourself from one day to another? Classic LaVark. Usually, you wait for a new thread, so fewer of us see the hypocrisy of your posts. Or, maybe it’s just that you’re confused when you’re posting things so early in the morning?

          When the team is more competitive and fun to watch, more people buy tickets and come to games. Who’s made the team more competitive and fun to watch? Not RG. Mike MacIntyre and co.

          Your incessant harping about your opinions, that you claim as facts, is hilarious.

          As to Montez’ improvement (or hoped for improvement)? Sure, a new voice in the room may help. But, ultimately, it’s up to the kid to make the necessary improvement, put in the work, and make it happen, regardless of who’s telling him/coaching him to do it.

          Go Buffs.

          • VKBerlin

            As a loan shark your mind appears small.

            There is no hypocrisy, that is just you slinking away because of facts and trying to defend what you don’t know.

            You can do the dance all you like, but without RG there is no attendance jump. There is no new facility, there is no increased recruiting, there is no promotional activity. There is no strategic plan.

            To this point yur Sheep caller, of which you respond has not executed his part of the strategic plan. He had one good year, and the maker of that good year is gone.

            MickeyMac has got to execute. This year. If not, he can just move on and take his crap with him.

            Too bad he was so terrible last year or he would have been gone. Damn it.

            Buffs.

            Note:Mac is a tool. RG is the driving force behind this.

          • Oh, LaVark, you are one misguided dude: “Note: Mac is a tool. RG is the driving force behind this.”

            That sums up your viewpoint.

            From my viewpoint, RG has done what he’s supposed to do – raise money. And he’s done it well. He’s not coaching any of the sports programs though. He’s a good manager, and lets his people run their departments.

            And Mac has done a good job raising CU football from the ashes of being the worst team in D1 football.

            Nevertheless, as we know, if Mac and Co under perform again this year? RG will have to think about making a change. We’re a long way from that right now though.

            And, it may be an interesting side bet to see who moves on first, Rick George or Mike MacIntyre.

            Go Buffs.

          • VKBerlin

            Yup, a tool. One of many in the “shed of RG” This tool had 1 fairly good season (couldn’t finish the job) when his main supporting tool moved on. Next year the tool was back to normal Couldn’t even get the job started.

            RG has been patient with this tool.

            Lucky him. HWSRN didn’t get this long eh?

            Earache

          • Ahhh, so now you’re changing your message about the definition of “tool”. Nice backtrack. As expected. Too bad your track record of posts tells us what you really meant by calling Mac a “tool”.

            Go Buffs.

          • Old Codger

            OMG! I have to agree the VK, the ACQB, here: A smart QB coach (bearing the Manning Family Seal of Approval) whose mind is not cluttered with trying to improve as a Co-OC should be a huge upgrade toward Montez’s development.

            If not, then NEXT! The QB depth is strong in talent, even if inexperienced.

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